At 6, I was up poking the coals back into
flame and trying to thaw. I watched the sun rise over the ridge and as soon
as it hit me, I felt better. Everything that got left out was soaked through
with the frost that was melting fast. It dried pretty quickly and everyone was
up to eat breakfast within the hour. Once the sun was shining down on our little
valley, we all stretched out in the sun for a while, letting our cold bodies
warm back up. The kids had been in down bags and were warm enough against the
cold, but Ben had cold feet from his bag being longer than his body. I showed
him how to fix that next time. Jake was colder than needed because he did not
wear warm clothes to bed and did not bother to use the drawstring to keep his
bag tight around his shoulders. Chan seemed to have fared the best, other than
Zephyr, who shared a bag with Jake.
We planned to hike to the citadel and the fin, 2 new features we have not made it to before. We packed some water and started out for the citadel, which, it turns out, was about a half a mile away and at least 400 feet higher than the campsite. That's like climbing a 40 story building. When we saw the Lacefield's later, we demaned the trail be renamed the Up and Up and Up trail. Once at the top, there was...nothing to see. Matt got a geocache and we hiked back down to the campsite and had lunch. We opted to skip the fin and ended up playing in the creek for a few hours. Jake fell in a deep spot and I had a good laugh while he complained violently. The water was REALLY cold.
Around 3, we decided to pack out a day early, no one wanted to spend another frozen night. We loaded up and hit the trail, I had planned it to take 3 hours to get out. We stopped at Linden Meadows and refilled water bottles and ate more food to get the weight down in our packs, hehehe! Chocolate is HEAVY.
We hiked on out in a single go, we were at the van by 6. I was shocked to be honest. It took about an hour to hike out, the same time it took to hike in. No one fell apart from their pack weight or the 3 really steep sections of hill. No one whined, I did not have to stop every 20 feet. I did not run up the hills, but I did go a step at a time and did not have a problem with them. I am so proud of us!
When we got to the van, everyone was glad to be out of the packs and Matt and I checked out and returned maps and chatted with the Lacefield's a bit. Back in the van, we all agreed that we could have done a little more. Another couple of miles each way.
I am VERY happy with how things went. We kept notes of everything we should have brought (salt, travel games, more water bottles) and even though it was just a night, it was a great first experience.
When we got home, it felt as if we had been gone for a week or more. Matt and I laughed about the odd feeling. We did something we never had before, we felt different.